Hipster Olympics

In Club Cultures: Music, Media, and Subcultural Capital Thornton applied Bourdieu’s theory of cultural capital to the rave subculture, whereby being ‘cool’ was dependent on a culture-specific values and knowledges. 

Thornton found subcultural capital was equivalent to ‘hipness’.  It is determined by being ‘in the know,’ wearing the ‘right’ clothing, having the ‘right’ haircut, liking the ‘right’ music, and moving the body correctly within a given situation.  The distinction of being ‘right’ is dependent on the invested meanings of culturally significant symbols.  Unlike Bourdieu’s cultural capital, subcultural capital is influenced more by gender than class.

Though this clip is a bit dated (replace myspace with facebook and flip phones with smart), a lot of the cultural cues have stayed the same.  The Williamsburg location, Pabst Blue Ribbon sponsorship, contestants participating ironically, being hungover, wearing tight pants, using cocaine, etc., all signify hipster-ness.


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